It seems like ever since big tech oligarch Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta, the company has faced metastasizing troubles.
In the latest blow, on Thursday Meta lost a major court case when an Austin, Texas, jury found that Meta had violated the intellectual property protections of an app company called Voxer, according to Business Insider, which said it had reviewed a court document detailing the decision.
Voxer went live in 2011; Facebook’s streaming function Facebook Live, which Voxer claims used some of its proprietary technology, began rolling out in August, 2015. In 2020, Voxer filed suit against Facebook, and then pursued separate court action against the tech giant in the U.K. the following year, according to The Register.
“Voxer said in its initial 2020 complaint that its founder, an army veteran named Tom Katis, began developing communications tech in 2006 after witnessing shortcomings in walkie-talkie technology while serving in Afghanistan,” Business Insider said.
Meta had asked the jury to invalidate Voxer’s patents, but that request was denied and, instead, the company formerly known as Facebook was ordered to pay Voxer $174.5 million for its violation of Voxer’s patents.
Zuckerberg has faced serious allegations and hefty penalties before. In 2009, Facebook paid up to $65 million in cash and stock to settle a lawsuit that claimed Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from three of his Harvard classmates, who were involved in a company called ConnectU.
“Its owners alleged that Zuckerberg, who helped set up Facebook, stole the idea, technology, design and business plan while they were students at Harvard,” the Guardian reported.
But Meta’s legal battles aren’t the only thing that has led to social media’s rotten reputation.
A Washington Post-Schar School poll in December 2021 showed 72 percent of Americans had little to no trust in how Facebook handled private, personal data.
Does Meta represent a significant danger to democracy?
Only 10 percent of those polled thought Facebook had a positive effect on society; 56 percent said Facebook caused a negative impact.
Since then Meta has suffered some serious setbacks that may be driving those numbers lower — or perhaps resulting from them.
In February, Facebook announced it had experienced a decline in users for the first time ever. Zuckerberg lost an estimated $29 billion from the resulting declining stock value.
In August, Zuckerberg admitted that during the 2020 election the FBI delivered a warning about disinformation and that Meta had used that as an excuse to suppress information on Facebook about the Hunter Biden laptop. Republican senators have demanded to see the FBI communications.
The Hunter Biden laptop, full of evidence of potential crimes, was later verified as authentic.
In September, things have gotten even worse for Meta and its CEO when South Korea’s Personal Information and Protection Commission announced a $22 million fine for Meta, which had illegally tracked user internet activity.
In Texas, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck a blow against the censorship for which Facebook has become infamous. The court upheld HB 20, which prohibited opinion-based restrictions on social media platforms with over 50 million monthly U.S. users.
Finally, Zuckerberg has lost an estimated $71 billon in Joe Biden’s economic downturn. He’s now only the world’s 20th-richest person, with a measly net worth of only $55.3 billion, according to Business Insider.
What a pity.
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